Monday, March 15, 2010

The One-Rule Test

I was pleased that the City of Chico Arts Commission set aside their draft policy that would have called for private property owners to include a public art component in their projects to the tune of 1% of their total project costs. Citing the current economic climate (which most of us agree is lousy) the Commissioners decided to table this proposal for now. We are relieved to not have to fight this ill-conceived idea, there is so much else we need to be doing!

I have an idea! I actually have ideas quite often, but many of them are either too difficult to implement, or are just plain nuts. Either way, if I could find a way to get paid PER IDEA instead of having to achieve actual results, I'd be rich. I'd also likely be an elected State official...but I digress.

This idea could actually work, simply because it's so simple! It's called the 'One Rule Test' and, if applied by all government officials and staff, would solve our economic problems lightening fast.

I'm a dyed-in-the-wool member of Rotary. We do a lot of great work in our community and in the greater world and I'm proud to be part of the group. For those of you who think Rotary is just a bunch of old guys sleeping through their lunch program every Tuesday, you would be in for a surprise. (Actually, only about 10% of our members fall asleep after lunch, depending on how good the speaker is.)

Rotary has a fabulous standard by which we test all the things we think, say and do. It's called The 4-Way Test and it goes like this:

"Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and better FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?"

Now certainly, nobody is perfect. But Rotarians believe that if they hold to the standards of The 4-Way Test, our business dealings, our community service and our overall lives will benefit. It is from this model that my idea springs, although I've shortened the test from FOUR things to just ONE thing to make it easier to remember and apply.

So here's the idea. Government, at EVERY level, must ensure that every piece of legislation considered, every policy penned, every Bill read, must pass the One-Rule Test. And that One-Rule is....


See how simple that is? It's quick. It's easy to remember. It's easy to apply. If the answer is NONE, the proposal goes immediately to the shred box...Do Not Pass Go...Do Not Collect $200.

If the proposal does create private sector jobs, it can be considered and will be given more weight as the number of jobs it creates increases.

Imagine how efficient our State legislature could be if they weren't wasting time on proposals that do not create or save private sector jobs! Imagine how much more efficient our own City staff could be if they weren't chasing the whims of appointed commissioners looking for ways to make their mark on the community. Apply the simple One-Rule Test. If it's not going to create private sector jobs, it's not going to get done. Period.

I think that if our government would hold to this 'One Rule Test', our economy, our tax base and our overall lives would benefit.

Here's where I have to get serious and specific about this. It is critically important that folks fully understand what will get us ALL out of this mess. It's job creation in the private sector, pure and simple. Private sector jobs create wealth that in turn create taxes that in turn employ government and support social services.

Unfortunately far too much of what government proposes, while it sounds good on the surface and might make some people feel good, in reality does nothing more than suck more money out of private business, money that could be better spent to create more private sector jobs and in turn create more tax revenue.

So there you have it. The One-Rule Test. I think it's an idea whose time has come.